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Zomato founder calls out 'intolerance' on social media after language row

Several brands have been hounded by social media trolls in the recent past

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MUMBAI: Founder of online food delivery platform Zomato, Deepinder Goyal has called out the rise of ‘intolerance’ among the social media users, after the platform found itself in the eye of another Twitter storm early this week.

“An ignorant mistake by someone in a support centre of a food delivery company became a national issue. The level of tolerance and chill in our country needs to be way higher than it is nowadays. Who's to be blamed here?” Goyal tweeted.

The issue arose after a customer from Tamil Nadu tweeted a screenshot of a chat he had with one of the customer care executives. The complaint was related to a missing food item in the order. According to the customer, the employee told him, that the amount cannot be refunded and apparently schooled him for not knowing Hindi while discussing the order detail. “Tagged me a liar as she didn't know Tamil,” he further accused, tagging the app with the words, “Not the way you talk to a customer. @zomatocare”

The incident soon spiralled into a trending topic on social media, with users tweeting #Reject_Zomato and criticising Zomato, for the employee’s reference to Hindi as “the national language of the country.” Some local politicians also joined in the company’s critique, leading to a knee-jerk reaction from Zomato.

The company soon issued a public apology and announced the termination of the woman employee for “negligence towards our diverse culture”, highlighting that it understands that food and language are core to any culture and Zomato takes both of them seriously.

However, the company reversed its decision a day later and reinstated the employee. “This alone is not something she should have been fired for. This is easily something she can learn and do better about going forward,” tweeted Goyal, adding that the call centre agents are young people, who are at the start of their learning curves and careers. “They are not experts on languages and regional sentiments. Nor am I, btw.”

The Zomato founder also took the opportunity to express his concern over the rising intolerance on social media, and shared a word of advice to Twitterati: “Having said that, we should all tolerate each other's imperfections. And appreciate each other's language and regional sentiments.”, adding, “We are all the same, as much as we are different.”

The case is part of a series of incidents in the recent past, wherein brands and advertising agencies have been targeted by overzealous social media in the country. Recently FabIndia came under fire for an ad it tweeted regarding its latest festive collection titled ‘Jashn-e-riwaaz’. The tweet was later taken down after a vitriolic campaign was run against the brand by some self-proclaimed groups for using Urdu words for a Diwali collection.

Earlier fashion e-comm, Nykaa has also came under fire on social media for its online Navratri offers on condoms and lubes. Ed-tech platform Unacademy was also trolled recently for a skit that some social media users termed as “Anti-Hindu". Not long before, ethnic wear brand Mohey came under attack on social media for a Wedding ad featuring its brand ambassador Alia Bhatt.

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